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Film & DVD

Central Florida Jewish Film Festival

Jewish culture returns to the Enzian for the 14th annual festival

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'Foreign Letters'

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'Portrait of Wally'

The Flood - ★★★★

Mabul, or The Flood, is the only true must-see of this year's four offerings. Although the subtle, hyper-realistic style and slight overuse of handheld camera make the movie difficult to fully appreciate in the first half, the metaphorical dam of emotions eventually breaks, engulfing not just the characters but the audience.

A 2011 Israeli film in Hebrew, written and directed by Guy Nattiv, Mabul is, on the surface, a coming-of-age tale of Yoni, a 13-year-old boy who is struggling with Bar Mitzvah preparations while being bullied at school and dealing with dysfunctional parents. But when Yoni's older and severely autistic brother, Tomer, is forced to stay with the family after the closure of his mental institution, the film becomes something bigger: a heartbreaking and powerful portrait of a family on the brink of collapse.

Feeling the stress just as much as everyone else yet bottling it all up, Yoni, played wonderfully by Yoav Rotman, has nowhere to turn. Even his teachers don't know what to do with the brilliant but troubled boy. "What do you think we should do?" his adviser asks him. "You are the counselor," he retorts. "Counsel me."

Combine that biting dialogue with some remarkable scenes of domestic life, throw in some insightful religious symbolism, and you get one of the sharpest commentaries on Israeli society in recent years. You couldn't ask for a much better end to the festival.

Central Florida Jewish Film Festival

11 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2
4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 3
Enzian Theater
1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland

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